My Work — No Dandelions Allowed

As if a weed could ever be regal.

Truby’s description of explosive story forms, specifically the line about volcanoes and dandelions, inspired my poem.

This began with a “germ,” a vague idea that I wanted to write about society, acceptance and rejection. I wanted to write about dandelions.

Why dandelions? In The Art of the Story, John Truby gives two examples of explosive patterns found in nature: volcanoes and dandelions. This image, drawing a parallel between the earth spewing lava and a common weed, embedded in my brain. Sure, I always equated volcanoes with the violence and danger of an explosion. But dandelions? Never.

At the time, I was taking a graduate-level multimedia storytelling class and trying to figure out what to do for an assignment to tell a 60-second story. Then one morning at around 4:30 a.m., I woke up with a thought that became the opening line of a poem: “Dandelions aren’t welcome here.”

This sign and other images of Jim Crow-era segregation inspired my video slideshow and poem, “No Dandelions Allowed.”

Still half-groggy, I typed out the words on my phone. While writing, I thought of segregation, ongoing debates over immigration and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I pictured images I had seen in history books and documentaries of Jim Crow-era segegation. I thought of the Langston Hughes poem Harlem, which opens with the question, “What happens to a dream deferred?”

The final project features me reading my poem and slideshow of images meant to juxtapose beautiful images of dandelions with menacing words describing them as ugly and dangerous. (Read the full poem at the end of this post.)

Tools used: Premiere, Audition, Google Images, Illustrator

No Dandelions Allowed

Dandelions aren’t welcome here, 

yet they pop up, uninvited, 

marring our lawns with their 

stubby stalks and their wide, flat crowns.

(As if a weed could ever be regal.)

Their untamed yellow petals jut

this way and that way

instead of gently curving and sloping

the way conventionally pretty flowers do.

They would never be a 10.

They creep past your fences,

taking up soil, sun and air

better quality plants deserve.

They’re unpredictable:

You let one in, seemingly benign, 

and then it explodes.